Issue 391 | The Sun Magazine

July 2008

Readers Write

Now Or Never

Frank Sinatra, a .45 handgun, the Gettysburg Address

By Our Readers


For all things come from earth, and all things end by becoming earth.


The Sun Interview

Digging In

Wendell Berry On Small Farms, Local Wisdom, And The Folly Of Greed

The human definition of the natural world is always going to be too small, because the world’s more diverse and complex than we can ever know. We’re not going to comprehend it; it comprehends us. The question is whether we can use it with respect. Some people in the past who knew very little biology were able to use the land without destroying it. We, who know a great deal of biology, are destroying our land in order to use it.

By Jeff Fearnside
Essays, Memoirs, & True Stories

Koans From My Mother

I was driving my mother from my sister Sue’s house to my own home last June when she said, “Sue has been my daughter her whole life. Why don’t I know her mother?”

By Jan Shoemaker
Essays, Memoirs, & True Stories

Cherish This Ecstasy

The peregrine falcon was brought back from the brink of extinction by a ban on DDT, but also by a peregrine-falcon mating hat invented by an ornithologist at Cornell University. If you can’t buy this, Google it.

By David James Duncan
Essays, Memoirs, & True Stories


Our failing family farm had two trailer homes sitting vacant. To make ends meet, my parents rented one to Valerie, a pregnant, unwed twenty-three-year-old with tomato red hair who worked at the Kroger deli, where my mother was the manager.

By Doug Crandell
Essays, Memoirs, & True Stories

Baton Rouge

It was hot and I wanted to die, in a way. I was tired of being twenty-five years old and festering as an undergraduate at one of the largest cow colleges in the deep South.

By Louis E. Bourgeois

The Right Wind

You’ve heard the old lovers’ cliché: “I don’t know where you end and I begin”? I don’t buy it. When my husband’s life ended — that’s when I didn’t know where mine began.

By Laura A. Munson

The Fisherman

Last winter started out really bad. The Buffalo Bills went to their first Super Bowl and lost to the New York Giants. For Valentine’s Day, Margaret Trafalcanti took me into the coat closet at school and let me kiss her on the lips and the throat and put my hand on her hip, but then she didn’t talk to me for the rest of the year.

By Christian Zwahlen